Argos duo takes advantage of rare start

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:12 AM ET

Jamal Robertson and Cliff Washburn arrived at the Argonauts' doorstep at different times for different reasons, but the pair is of a single mind: Impress and keep a job.

Robertson was a middling running back for much of the season until he broke out for 139 yards in a loss to the B.C. Lions on Friday night, while Washburn, signed last week to shore up the offensive line, helped make people forget that Lions defensive end Cameron Wake has been a dominating force.

The day is fast approaching that the Argos, with four games remaining, probably will be eliminated from playoff contention, which means nothing but pride and a paycheque for 2009 will be on the line. Although, the picture isn't as bleak with Winnipeg losing last night.

Robertson wouldn't have had the 10 touches he got against B.C. had Dominique Dorsey been healthy; Washburn was signed when Jonta Woodard was hurt. Robertson, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry before the game, had 139 yards and two touchdowns. Had Tyler Ebell not suffered an Achilles injury in camp that put him on the shelf for the season, Robertson would not have been acquired from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"I always have confidence, swagger," Robertson, sporting a T-shirt with an image of his 10-year-old son Jalil, said. "I have to build off (his performance against B.C.), but I can't live off it.

"If I go in and worry about tomorrow, then I would not focus. I can't be concerned about (the future). Management will have to make the decisions they have to make."

Robertson's touchdown runs of 75 yards and 48 yards were the extent of the production from the offence.

"He can run in a straight line when nobody touches him," head coach Don Matthews said. "He showed great speed. We did not expect that much to open for him, but when he got in there, he made a couple of nice cuts."

Washburn attended camp with the Houston Texans of the NFL during the summer and was among the last cuts. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive tackle had been a member of several NFL clubs in the past several years but had not actually played in a game since the 2006 CFL East Division final with the Argos. Against the Lions, Washburn was a big reason Wake was held to a solitary sack.

LIKE A GLOVE

"If it was like slipping on a glove, it was a tight glove," Washburn said of getting accustomed to his teammates. "I'm trying to get it on. Did okay for the first game back. Couple of more weeks and I will be more comfortable."

Even quarterback Kerry Joseph probably should considered the remaining games an audition for next season. Imagining Joseph and offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto trying to work together again is too painful to consider. Matthews said last week he is happy with the schemes Buratto has drawn up for the offence, and it's up to the players to get it right.

Joseph wasn't great shakes in his return under centre against B.C. after watching Cody get nothing accomplished for two games.

"Kerry made some plays under duress, some plays, not enough plays," Matthews said. "His accuracy was not as good as I would have liked it to be. But his playmaking ability was there."

Just not nearly enough for a win.


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